Billy King gave Williams the keys to the franchise when the GM signed the now 29-year-old to a five-year, $98 million max extension in July 2012.
New Nets coach Jason Kidd, right, hopes to coach Deron Williams back into the MVP debate.
D-Will’s first season in Brooklyn obviously wasn’t great. He struggled with injuries and failed to make the Eastern Conference All-Star team. But after getting healthy during the All-Star break, he played like one of the best point guards in the NBA.
First-year coach Jason Kidd, his close friend, wants D-Will to get back in the MVP conversation this season. King has surrounded Williams with plenty of weapons, which should enable D-Will to get more assists and more victories.
While Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will bring leadership and toughness, they’ve both said it’s D-Will’s team. And it’s up to D-Will to carry the Nets to the promised land. He is currently rehabbing a sprained right ankle and a bone bruise, but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
The Backup: Shaun Livingston
With C.J. Watson departing for Indiana, King signed Livingston to a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum to be D-Will’s backup.
Once thought of as an intriguing prospect with an extremely high ceiling, Livingston’s career was quickly derailed by injuries. Nevertheless, assuming he can stay healthy, the 28-year-old is a solid, pass-first point guard who should be able to provide quality minutes off the bench. At 6-foot-7, Livingston can defend taller shooting guards, enabling him to play in the same backcourt as D-Will at times, if Kidd decides to go that route. The point guard position would definitely be a position of concern if D-Will were to go down with injury for a significant period of time.
Taylor, 23, appeared in just 38 games during his rookie season, averaging a meager 5.8 minutes. Taylor said it was difficult playing so sparingly, and believes he can eventually be a consistent contributor at the pro level. Still, he has to prove it. Taylor, who is anything but a traditional floor general, found himself in the D-League a lot, and it might very well make sense for him to get more seasoning in the minors in 2013-14, too.